In many of the discussions about playstyles, particular COGs and HGs and about COGs and HGs in general, the difference between people who tend to self-insert and those who get into and stay in character, are often brough up. While I understand that it can also be considered as a continuum or spectrum where it’s possible you might not be fully one of the types, but tend more towards one than the other, I’ve always find it hard to relate to either of those “types” for most of the COGs and HGs I’ve tried. Yes there are a few COGs and HGs, most notably Jolly Good-Cakes and ale, where I’ve really gone into character and made MCs that are really different from me and tried to make the decisions in that COG or HG from their perspectives and in line with what I consider to be their personalities. But for most COG and HG, I don’t do it that way. Though my decisions then are often at least somewhat influenced by what I think I would have done in that particular situation, they certainly don’t feel like a carbon copy of those decisions, with me often either going for decisions that are more idealised, whether being kinder or more social/extrovert than the ones I would actually choose in real life or “smarter”, in the sense that I think it will lead to better outcomes for my characters. And, though I for most COGs and HGs like when there’s some similarities between me and my MC, I certainly don’t mind making characters who are at least somewhat different from me, and in certain ways I guess they always will be, not least because I haven’t yet seen any COGs and HGs where the MC can be an Aspie or have Non-verbal learning difficulties like me or other important things that plays an important role in who I am.
More importantly, I don’t immerse myself so fully in the MCs as some of the other forum members seem to do. Although I care about them and want good things for them I don’t usually feel like I’m fully entering them like some actor where I’m either playing myself or some other person who is clearly significantly different from. Rather, I consider myself to be more of a director who tries to: Make interesting things happen to my MCs by exploring different outcomes throughout the story, making good things happen to MCs by choosing options that will make their lives better, (usually)making the world that my characters live in at least a somewhat better by finding and choosing options that will allow them to make the world an at least somewhat better places and, finally choosing options that will help create storylines I like to see more often in fiction in general, not least when it comes to romances. As you can probably tell from all this, I like to feel like a co-creator of the story on some level and, as a result I tend to enjoy cogs and hgs with many different paths and outcomes, particulary those that make a significant difference to the story, depending on your character’s choices, much more than those with few paths and outcomes and/or outcomes and paths with cosmetic significance
The MC is important, too, but I always like to be able to shape them into whatever “shape” I found most interesting or relatable and according to how it fits in with the storylines I want to explore and also to be able to explore different kind of “shapes” instead of one largely pre-set such. And I guess for the MCs it is also a question of casting, where I can choose between different actors depending on what I want to focus on. This director perspective also means that I, unlike many others, don’t really have any problems with looking at the stat screen from time to time in order to find out what stats would be the best to use and such and am okay with a certain amount of metagaming, since my perspective is already a bit meta compared to those who fully immerse themselves in their MCs. In moderation and within reason, of course, if a decision is extremely out of character for or ,on the surface of it, doesn’t seem to make to make sense for my MC, I probably wouldn’t use a metagame perspective to make that decision, but I won’t be overly strict about which decisions are in character and such for my MCs either. I also really enjoy the sense of “building” a character, with making them powerful in certain skills, abilities and/or attributes while not making them perfect and good at everything and sometimes, like in Jolly Good-Cakes and ale, making characters, with a combination of attributes that above all are…interesting, when put together
So I’m wondering if, in addition to the divide between the players/readers who like to self-insert and those who like to get into character, so to speak, there isn’t also a divide between the players/readers who are actors and the players/readers who are directors. Actors like to fully immerse themselves in the MCs and their perspectives, whether that perspective is your own real-life perspective or a perspective that you’ve taken on, and dislike anything that takes them out of that immersion. Directors have a more meta perspective and focus more on experimenting with the story to see what outcomes they can get or paths they can explore depending on their choices and/or finding ways to get the kind of outcomes and/or storylines that are available and they want to experience. While, just like there are movie directors who make really faithful adaptions of their scripts, there may also be directors who are not that interested in bending the story into different and more unusual shapes but just read it almost like a regular book readers, I think that most other directors will be at least somewhat like me and most real-life movie directors, with them liking to feel like co-creators on some level, like by being able to choose between different storylines and having the opportunity to make many different decisions that can all affect the story in different ways.
I suspect, like with self-inserters and those who like to get into characters, there’s a continuum with only a minority of people belonging purely in one groups, although most people will lean towards one of those groups. Like with the distinction between self-inserters and those who get into characters, it still feels like a useful distinction, because I think it tells us quite a bit about the different playstyles or at least playstyle tendencies that people can have.
So I’m wondering what you people are thinking of my proposed distinction about the director and actor playstyle? Do you think it’s a valid and important distinction or do you disagree that it’s important and/or valid?